THE LOYALTY CRISIS AT MANZANAR REGISTRATION, SEGREGATION, AND PARTICIPATION IN THE ARMED FORCES (continued)
MANZANAR HISTORIC CONTEXT (continued)
Program Implementation. After the WRA segregation program was outlined, and the groups to be involved delineated, the segregation hearings began at each of the ten relocation centers in August 1943. At Manzanar, however, the WRA had "already gone into segregation, in the arrest of 26 people" following the violence at the camp on December 6, 1942.  Furthermore, Manzanar had already undertaken hearings for male Kibei who answered "No" on the "loyalty questionnaire" between April 15 and May 5. Thus, the initial segregation process and the Kibei hearings" had served as the focal point of the discussions held at the February and May WRA project directors' meetings dealing with segregation. As a result, Manzanar was the first center to experience "segregation," as well as the first to use hearings to determine those to be segregated based on the "loyalty registration" program.
In a May 21 report stemming from the "Kibei hearings" at Manzanar, Project Director Merritt, who feared this sizable group in his relocation center, explained the rationale for the hearings. They had been conducted because
Accordingly, a "Review Board of Manzanar, consisting of Lucy Adams, Chief, Community Services; Throckmorton, project attorney; Robert L. Brown, Assistant Project Director, and Director Merritt, had been established. "Each of the 503 Kibei men who had answered No came before this Board and were interviewed at as great a length as seemed necessary in order to permit them to state their position." Merritt continued:
The reasons for maintaining a "No" answer at this hearing, according to Merritt, were:
Merritt recommended that those Kibei who answered "Yes" or changed to "Yes" (and were approved by the Board) be given leave clearance; those who answered "No" not be given leave clearance; and if any of the Kibei were "uncooperative," they be removed from Manzanar and placed under "military control in another center." Merritt also recommended that Congress enact legislation making it possible for dual citizens (the laws of Japan and the United States made dual citizenship possible) to divest themselves of their United States citizenship and
Merritt concluded the study by stating that
Throckmorton, a member of the review board that conducted the Kibei Hearings" at Manzanar, concluded "that the original answers to question 28 should not be made the basis for any important action unless they are supplemented by additional information." He observed that it was "quite clear that there was a great deal of misunderstanding as to the meaning of question 28." There had also been "much pressure and confusion at the time of registration that caused people to answer question 28 not in the light of their own personal loyalty but on the basis of other considerations." 
The WRA's failure to understand the ramifications of those "considerations" played a major role in its initiation of a segregation program. However, the recommendation for acquisition of additional information was followed by the WRA when it determined that "segregation hearings" would be conducted. 
The first official mention of the pending "segregation hearings" at Manzanar was announced by Merritt at a special Block Managers meeting on July 13, 1943. Merritt noted that segregation would "commence September 1 and will probably end about October 20 or later." A report by Opler stated that "there was no demonstration of excitement on the part of the residents when they heard this announcement." A survey of first reactions indicated that the appointed personnel were "more excited and disturbed over the question of segregation than the evacuees themselves." Opler continued:
In another report issued on July 15, Opler noted rather optimistically:
Five days later, on July 15, Opler prepared another report on segregation, summarizing the opinion of Kazuyuki Takahashi, Block Manager of Block 35. Takahashi believed that
Takahashi also reported a rumor that reflected another concern of some evacuees at Manzanar regarding segregation. According to the "fantastic" rumor, after segregation "Japanese music, kendo, and flower making or anything that is Japanese" would not be permitted "in the loyal camps." 
Thus, the residents of Manzanar reacted to the first announcement of segregation with attitudes ranging from apprehension to anxious expectation."Segregation Hearings" and "Leave Clearance Hearings" were held concurrently at Manzanar during August-November 1943. The hearings stretched over a four-month period because of the number of hearings involved and the fact that many of the same Manzanar appointed personnel served on review boards for both sets of hearings. Approximately 2,550 segregation hearings for individual evacuees were held before the "Board of Review for Segregation" Of this number, about 1,000 evacuees also attended a 'Leave Clearance Hearing."
In a Summary of Segregation Program, Project Director Merritt informed the evacuee population at Manzanar of the need for segregation as determined by the WRA. He also explained that
The decision to allow the families of segregants to accompany them to Tule Lake would have a significant impact on the retention or deletion of a "No" answer to questions of loyalty during the segregation hearings.
Robert Brown, assistant project director, and Merritt characterized the impact of this decision in the Final Report, Manzanar. They observed:
Brown and Merritt explained the parents' motivation in influencing their children by saying that "Craftiness for self-protection was made the motivating factor in segregation by the majority of alien segregees. Loyalty was only a minor factor." 
Another reason for the "long and painful process' of the segregation hearings at Manzanar was reflected in a letter from Philip M. Glick to J. Benson Saks, who had replaced Throckmorton as project attorney on August 20. Glick noted:
Saks responded to Glick on August 28, explaining that "one of the boards was probing the impalpable aspects of intent and attitude too deeply, and too much at length, and that its hearing was more nearly that contemplated for leave clearance, while the other board was moving along at a much faster clip, and with but perhaps a surface scratching of the factors that induced the original "No" answer and the factors which are controlling with the evacuees at the present time." "Where we are satisfied that we can recommend leave clearance we take the opportunity. at the segregation hearing, of so writing on the evacuee's papers and thus obviate the necessity of a later leave clearance hearing." Segregation was "explained in terms of its being an American problem and a Japanese problem." The board made "it clear that Tule Lake is to be the place for those who prefer the Japanese traditions, customs and ways of life while the other centers are for those evacuees who look to America and our ways of living. 
Of the approximately 2,550 segregation hearings at Manzanar, about 1,000 resulted in having evacuees change their "No" answers to "Yes" on the loyalty question. This group, along with those who had given a qualified answer to loyalty, or who had changed "No" to "Yes" before July 15 [518 evacuees] were to have leave clearance hearings. Denial of leave clearance resulted in transfer to Tule Lake. 
"Leave clearance hearings" had been held in the relocation centers virtually since they had opened. The "registration program," for instance, was essentially a "leave clearance hearing." With the advent of the segregation program, the WRA believed it possible to have a mass issuance of "leave" from the relocation centers based on the hearings conducted to implement the segregation process.
The "leave clearance hearings" consisted of questions related to the original "No" answer, the reasons for a change in answer, and the current status of the evacuee's attitude toward the United States. In a letter to Glick on October 4, Saks elaborated:
Final authority to grant leave clearance resided with the Washington staff, the director supposedly reviewing and approving all requests for leave. 
By the end of November 1943, nearly all of the evacuees at Manzanar had gone through one or more hearings relating to the question of loyalty. The hearings relating to segregation and leave clearance, however, posed different issues relating to loyalty. On December 1, Lucy Adams reported:
Adams attributed this difference between the two types of hearings to the fact that the evacuees involved in "leave clearance hearings"
Nevertheless, Adams acknowledged the effect of Japanese culture even among these evacuees, stating that the
Adams summed up the "leave clearance hearings" by a discussion of Question 28, the original precursor of the segregation program:
Thus, during 1943 the evacuees at Manzanar had been subject to continuous and successive appeals to express their loyalty to America or Japan. The "loyalty registration," Kibei hearings," "segregation hearings," and the "leave clearance hearings" were all structured to discern commitment. The "welfare hearings," however, were different; their primary purpose was to aid the segregants and their families in their pending transfer to Tule Lake. As head counselor of the Community Welfare Section at Manzanar, Margaret D'Ille personally conducted these hearings. In the Final Report, Manzanar, D'Ille wrote:
Thus, even the "welfare hearings" were a reflection of the rumors and fears that existed in the camp as a result of one year's search for "loyalty."
At the conclusion of the "segregation hearings," more than 2,200 persons were transferred from Manzanar to Tule Lake. On October 9, 1943, 297 residents were transferred by train. This first group of segregants was composed chiefly of unattached Kibei and Issei.
Departure of the second and much larger group of segregants was delayed by the housing shortage at Tule Lake. According to the Final Report, Manzanar, 1,876 persons left Manzanar for Tule Lake on February 21, 23, 24, and 26, 1944, after additional housing at the segregation center had been made available. Family members of segregants who were seniors in high school were given the option of staying until June 1944 to complete their classwork and obtain their high school diplomas. A few family members refused to follow their families to Tule Lake and were allowed to stay in Manzanar.
After the second group of segregants left for Tule Lake, many evacuees at Manzanar who had not previously asked for repatriation filed requests. Some had originally answered "No" to the loyalty question, later had changed their answers to "Yes," and had been given leave clearance. Some cancelled their applications after several weeks, but other families filed new applications. Transfer of these evacuees to Tule Lake, however, was prevented by the lack of housing space. The segregation center was still not ready to receive any additional residents when the exclusion ban was lifted on January 2, 1945. Thus, a third segregation movement from Manzanar to Tule Lake never took place. 
Last Updated: 01-Jan-2002